Let's see, the Federal Communications Commission will soon regulate how broadband and Internet service providers manage the content that comes in and out of their networks. The Federal Trade Commission manages how endorsements and testimonials are handled in social networks. The latest federal agency to get its fingers into the social networking regulatory soup is the Food and Drug Administration.
PharmTech Talk reported Tuesday that the FDA is holding hearings this week regarding how to ensure the reliability of online health and drug information. The hearings, which began Thursday and will conclude Friday, include representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and consumer groups as well as new media representatives, like Google.
The trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America suggested the use of an FDA logo or graphic to indicate legitimate health or product information on Web sites or search results, writer Patricia Van Arnum says. She quotes the group's SVP, Ken Johnson, this way:
Leveraging the FDA's logo-or a universal FDA-approved graphic symbol-in search results and throughout the Web would inform patients, at a glance, that they are visiting a legitimate site that contains comprehensive FDA-regulated benefit and risk information. Such a graphic symbol could be combined with a universal warning statement to provide an indication of risk when there is little space (e.g., a search result or tweet).
In addition to this week's hearings, the FDA is taking written comments on the issues until Feb. 28, 2010.